Arizona Cardinals: 3 running backs who can replace James Conner
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals are 4-8, and many fans are looking toward the offseason. So let’s talk running backs and who could replace James Conner in 2023.
James Conner has been a disappointment this season, and once again, injuries have limited the Arizona Cardinals featured back to just nine contests in 12 possible games. While Conner may return for 2023, look for him to come back in a limited role while someone else takes RB1 duties.
And with no proven depth behind him, you will find general manager Steve Keim (or someone) looking to find at least a stopgap for the RB1 when the offseason rolls around. Don’t expect any all-world talent, but instead, a serviceable back. Here are my three favorites.
1 – Kareem Hunt
Off-field issues plagued Hunt earlier in his career, but those days are long gone. And while Hunt is an older back who will turn 28 next season, serving as an RB2 since 2019 means he has more tread left on the tires than most backs at that age.
He also knows he can be an RB1 somewhere, evidenced by trade rumors that surfaced earlier this season. Therefore, I find it unlikely he returns to the Cleveland Browns in 2023.
2 – D’Onta Foreman
Foreman has been outstanding over the last year-and-a-half as an RB2, and he has rushed for over 100 yards on four different occasions since becoming an RB1 for the Carolina Panthers. As a team in transition, the Panthers may purge their roster, and Foreman may be a casualty here, meaning he will be playing in a different uniform in 2023.
Since he has averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry or more over the last two seasons to date and has over 1,000 rushing yards over his last 21 contests, look for a running back needy team to bring in Foreman next season. And the Arizona Cardinals should have him on their radar.
3 – Jeff Wilson
Yesterday, I stated Jimmy Garoppolo as one of my three potential replacements for Kyler Murray should the highly unlikely event arise that the Arizona Cardinals moved him. My main point was that, if he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers, he’d want to play them twice a year, and the same thing goes for Jeff Wilson.
Following the Niners trade for Christian McCaffrey, they sent Wilson to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick, despite the underrated back logging 5.1 yards per carry over his first eight games this season. As a member of the Dolphins, Wilson has only continued to impress, rushing for 209 yards and 5.4 yards per carry.
While Wilson could re-sign with the Dolphins, he may also opt to test the free agent market, leaving a golden opportunity for teams like the Arizona Cardinals. Overall, expect the Redbirds to add a back, whether it’s one of the three listed above, or another name, to become the RB1 in 2023.
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